Theme parks in recent decades have seen their attractions grow more and more in cost and theming. But Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is about to take that into a new stratosphere.
The original price tag for Cosmic Rewind was already in the range of between triple and quadruple the cost of Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom. And given the amount of theming that went into Everest, speculation has always been that Cosmic Rewind must be a behemoth of a ride given the minimal theming the attraction has received on the outside.
In fact, Disney is reportedly not satisfied with the outer shell of the Guardians show building where the coaster tracks are hidden. The building is a significant part of the skyline from several viewing angles within the park. While it was pitched in concept in such a way that made it seem it would blend in with the sky more fully, now that it’s physically there, word is that some movers and shakers aren’t pleased that it competes with Spaceship Earth visually.
However, based on some information we’ve seen, it is now believed that the first price tag for Cosmic Rewind may have been lower than its final tally. If you can wrap your mind around it, it’s looking like this new coaster might actually cross (or has already crossed) the half billion mark in construction costs alone.
While some might think the greater expenditures could go towards the show building being given additional features to either hide it better or acknowledge its massive impression… that might not end up being the case. In reality, it could simply be the result of having to stop and start the construction on a one-of-a-kind roller coaster.
Whatever the cause for the likely increase in spending, we can now say definitively that Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will be the most expensive attraction in the history of all theme parks, ever. And it’s not by a small amount. It take the crown from its neighbor, Test Track, which suffered huge delays and many pre-opening fixes that ballooned its total cost to a whopping $300 million (approximately). But the new kid on the block coming to Epcot will see that beat by much more than a $100 million dollars. That’s astronomical.
But “whoa” you might be saying. Surely Rise of the Resistance had a higher price tag than Test Track! Well, that’s actually pretty hard to figure out. You see, that attraction is heavily themed in such a way that it is integral to the land around it. So what of that theming is part of the attraction, and what is part of the cost of the land. And while we know that Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios had a final cost of about 1.2 billion dollars, a smaller percentage of that was spent on Rise of the Resistance. Though it was an expensive ride, especially given construction/design mistakes that resulted in it blowing through its original allocation, it’s still unlikely that it topped Test Track’s total cost.
Some have wondered if the new attraction will open in 2021, as scheduled. In reality, that’s Disney’s call at this time, and almost totally based on marketing (although we all know major disruptions in attraction construction can and do happen from time to time). Disney needs guests to return to Walt Disney World as soon as the pandemic is relatively over… and that looks likely in 2021. We certainly hope that’s true. With an all-out marketing blitz, Disney will already be launching an e-ticket attraction in Tron at the Magic Kingdom. They’re holding back Ratatouille in Epcot for 2021 solely for the purpose of making as big an oomph as possible. By the way, Ratatouille is no small ride. Plus, they’re pushing hard to get a parade up in 2021 for the 50th anniversary based on what we’re hearing.
So will Disney drop not only a new roller coaster at Magic Kingdom, possibly a new a parade, a major attraction at Epcot, but a second roller coaster in the same year? Would they possibly hold Guardians until 2022 to keep something huge coming at a time when theme park spending globally will surely be down?
It’s hard to say at this point. What isn’t up for debate, however, is that Epcot is getting the biggest dollar for dollar attraction in the history of attractions anywhere in the world. Four hundred million and change was already a massive investment for Disney… before the cost likely went up. And I, for one, cannot wait to see what half a billion can buy.